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Chris Britton, Managing Director, Hughes Europe
Q. Give us a short history of how Hughes entered the EU market and your strategy for growth.
A. Hughes has been operating in the U.K. for more than 30 years offering a wide range of satellite services, including managed enterprise networks, which is now our primary focus. We expanded into Europe a few years later working in partnership with BT and since then successfully expanded our presence by opening offices in Germany and Italy. A key part is our Network Operations Center, or NOC, established in Griesheim, Germany, which complements our headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK, delivering extended service and support to build strong and longlasting relationships with key customers across Europe.
Q. What wins are you most proud of and how is the business positioned for continued success?
A. I am most proud of how we have won profitable business with some of the world’s leading brands and also of how we have kept those customers. An example is our 11-year relationship with Camelot, which operates the UK’s National Lottery program. This is the largest VSAT network in Europe; Hughes Europe manages the entire 37,000-site network across both VSAT and terrestrial services. We’ll be running the network for Camelot until their license comes up for renewal in 2023, and if Camelot wins the next license, we hope to continue with our partnership for many more years. I believe this has only been possible because of the dedication of our teams, across all functions, who are putting the customer first. By winning and keeping customers, we have created a firm foundation for growth, having developed the necessary skills and expertise in managing the connectivity needs of large distributed enterprises. As a result, we are in a strong position to capitalize on the growing demand for managed network services—and in particular, our HughesON SD-WAN offering—supporting the complex digital transformation projects being undertaken by many companies across Europe.
Q. Managed Services are a staple of the Hughes enterprise business; can you talk about the recent launch of HughesON Managed SD-WAN in Europe? In which verticals are you seeing traction?
A. We officially launched our capability at the SD-WAN summit in Paris in September. Though it is still early for this solution in Europe, we are following in the successful footsteps of our colleagues in North America and have already secured a significant win with a leading downstream petroleum retailer in Poland. The solution they chose comprises our HR4860 Gateway across their 370-site estate; it should be an excellent reference for other key prospects. We’ve also just launched a new Managed SD-WAN marketing campaign, which focuses on retailers, and look forward to providing updates as that market develops in Europe.
Q. When trying to expand the footprint, how does the team deal with multiple languages, currencies, and borders?
A. We’ve found that in the IT business-to-business sector, language is not as much of a barrier as you might expect. Still, we make sure our communications are in plain and simple English for our partners and customers whose first language is not English. One of our key differentiators in Europe is that we have developed the capability to deliver services across multiple countries under a single Service Level Agreement (SLA). We can do this because we have a sales presence in multiple countries and we work closely with local partners to deliver the services our customers need.
Q. Can you talk about some of the expansion goals for the next year and beyond? How do you see leveraging your success in Europe and that of Hughes in North America and other regions into broadening the verticals and new markets?
A. We are actively looking at new opportunities to expand segments. We see lots of potential in the retail sector where there is a good deal of change happening—and disruption often leads to opportunity from an IT perspective. We are evaluating the market opportunity in Europe for sectors where our U.S. colleagues have been successful, such as the casual dining sector. There is also opportunity to leverage the launch of EchoStar Mobile to create a joint proposition in the utilities space where IoT and remote connectivity challenges create a great fit for a joint proposition.
Q. Can you please share details with us about the EchoStar Mobile efforts and accomplishments to date?
A. We are taking the EchoStar Mobile proposition to market though an indirect model. Our first objective is to establish partnerships with key players in this space to create a channel model that will facilitate fast and successful market entry. In establishing these partnerships, we are developing supporting materials to target specific sectors, such as utilities. Our early successes include a joint partnership with Telespazio and Thales to create a proposition specific to first responders for emergency services. This is a really exciting time for EchoStar Mobile in Europe, and we are looking forward to helping them establish a successful, profitable business unit. I am confident we have the team to make it happen.